What is the difference between a deep cycle battery and a regular? Deep cycle batteries look like normal car batteries at first glance but they are much more than that in terms of capacity and lifespan. A deep cycle battery provides a reliable source power until at 80% discharge rate, allowing you to maximise it with every use.
Unlike other batteries that supply short bursts of power before needing to be recharged, it comes in lesser amounts of power but for a consistent, longer period of time. Structurally, it differs from traditional lead-acid batteries in plates, as deep cycle batteries have thicker active plates and thicker separators.
There are several types of these batteries as well. First is the flooded lead-acid batteries, one of the oldest types of batteries in the market. They are sometimes referred to as "wet cells" since they have liquid electrolytes inside, which means that these batteries must stay upright at all times. Overall, they are on the heavier side and requires the most maintenance, causing their popularity among consumers to gradually decline. The next type is the Valve Regulated Lead-Acid (VRLA) – Gel and AGM. They display a significant improvement compared to flooded batteries and in case of overpressure during charging, both have a safety valve that opens to release the build-up. The distinguishing factor between the two is that gel deep cycle batteries use a gelled electrolyte while AGM deep cycle batteries use an electrolyte absorbed in glass matt.
We also have lithium-ion batteries. These are quite promising as they are maintenance-free, fast-charging, and can be discharged more deeply without reducing their lifespan. While lithium-ion batteries are generally good performance-wise, many are hesitant to go for them because of the higher upfront cost. Lastly, we have lithium batteries, particularly the LiFEPO4. LiFEPO4 boasts enhanced safety, higher capacity, and improved discharge and charge efficiency in a lightweight, compact form. Although they can be pricey, these batteries make a great investment especially if you love camping trips or you're looking for a reliable source of backup power.
What is a deep cycle battery used for?
Because of its highly efficient energy storage units, deep cycle batteries are best for outdoor leisure activities like off-grid camping, powering golf carts, running motorboats, and fitting in recreational vehicles. A 100Ah deep cycle battery will keep your essential appliances up and running smoothly in campsites for a couple of days depending on how much power you need but if you want extra capacity just to be sure, you can opt for 200Ah deep cycle batteries instead. Here's a tip: If you really want the best deep cycle battery, go for LiFEPO4. Convenient to pack, easy to maintain, and equipped with safety features that prevent common charging issues, this is the perfect companion in campsites or when you need a little stop over from your road trip to use your portable appliances.
How long does a deep cycle battery last?
On average, deep cycle batteries last for up to six years with proper usage and maintenance. Most of the time, more factors affect the lifespan of lead-acid batteries compared to lithium batteries. For example, improper charging and discharging can decrease the lifespan of traditional batteries whereas, in the case of LiFEPO4, this is not an issue due to its built-in battery management system (BMS). Heat is also known to decrease your battery's longevity as well—another thing you won't have to worry about with LiFEPO4 because they don't overheat. Generally, lithium iron phosphate batteries last longer too, sometimes even reaching up to ten years.
There are ways to extend a deep cycle battery's lifespan too. When it comes to charging, make sure you give it a chance to completely chare using an appropriate deep cycle battery charger instead of plugging in your battery randomly throughout the day just to partially top it off. This will allow the battery to undergo a conditioning phase that helps prevent damage to its plates. Additionally, while deep cycle batteries can function on an 80% discharge level, it's a good idea to avoid letting it drop to this point on a daily basis. Remember that when it comes to this battery type, slow charging is best and keeping it fully charged before storing will help keep them in good shape.
More from Outbax
Interested in purchasing a deep cycle battery? Visit our website and choose from our collection of LiFEPO4 including 100Ah lithium batteries, slimline batteries, and caravan lithium batteries. They have all the advantages of a deep cycle battery at an affordable price, so you won’t have to burn your pocket to have a great camping experience. Being outdoor lovers ourselves, we are experts on everything you need when you’re going off-grid, so feel free to reach out to our team for more information. You might want to check out our line of inverter generators and solar panels as well!